Summary: Knowing who you are and Whose you are should give the Christian confidence to properly serve the Lord with boldness.
Confidence in Christ
Text: Ephesians 3:1-13
By: Ken McKinley
Last time we started discussing this passage and we talked about how a person introduces themselves says something about them. I also would say that the songs a church sings say something about it. I got this in an email.
Slight Modifications to Traditional Church Songs that reflect the uncertainty and lack of commitment in our day.¡¨
1.My Hope is Built on Nothing Much (as opposed to My Faith is Built on Nothing Less).
2.Oh How I Like Jesus (as opposed to, Oh How I Love Jesus).
3.Joyful, Joyful, We Endure Thee (as opposed to, Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.)
4.Ok is Thy Faithfulness (as opposed to, Great is Thy Faithfulness).
5.I Surrender Some (as opposed to, I Surrender All).
While we might smile at some of those, but Im glad that the email I got was only a joke. But I really do think that the songs a church sings, says something about it, so does the preaching of a church, and so does the entire worship service.
Now last time we looked at this passage and we saw how Paul was involved in sacrificial service. We also saw that his suffering was a direct result of his service and so the question we should ask is: How can we be like Paul and serve like he did, not only doing the works we've been called to do, but having the confidence that Paul had to do them. You see; I think that a lot of our problem, when it comes to stepping out in boldness for the Lord, is that we have very little confidence.
Well when we look at our text, we see that Paul emphasized that the Gospel message was and is a gift. In verse 2 he says that it was given to him for his readers; in verse 3 he says that God made it know to him by a revelation, in verse 5 he writes that it was revealed by the Holy Spirit, in verse 7 he says that he has become a minister according to this gift of grace, in verse 8, again he says that grace had been given. And so Paul is saying that the origin of this message is not from him, but rather it is from God. And we are not the owners of the Gospel either, we are stewards of the Message, and it is our privilege to tell others about the Good News.
You see, the Gospel is true whether the people we share it with, believe it or not. It is true whether the people who ARE SHARING it believe it or not. A lot of people are like Pontius Pilate, they are relativists; they think there is no definite truth. To them something is only true when they believe it themselves, but if they dont believe it, then it must not be true. The problem with people like that is that they have no certainty in their lives. When truth becomes relative, absolutes slip away.
But as Christians, our confidence does not rest in us, in our ability, in our education, in our position, in our circumstances; it rests in the fact that the Word of God is absolute, unchanging truth.
Paul says that God has given him the grace so that he might proclaim the truth of His word so that Gentiles will be fellow heirs, part of the same body of Christ, and partakers of God's promises in Christ, through the Gospel. And notice that Paul says that prior to this revelation from God, all of this was a mystery.
The Greek word for mystery is the word mysterion, it doesn't mean that it is unknowable, it means that it is only known to those it has been revealed to, to everyone else it remains unknown. You see, before Christ came it wasn't quite clear how God would save fallen humanity. Thats why so many thought that Jesus would set up an earthly kingdom, and they missed it when He instead set up His spiritual kingdom first, and the new heavens and earth won't come until later. People knew that a Messiah was coming:
In Genesis He was the ram that God provided so that Isaac would not die.
In Exodus, He was the One who delivered His people.
In Leviticus He was the scapegoat offered for the people¡¦s sins.
In Numbers He is the rock promised to provide living water.
In Deuteronomy He is the prophet who is to come and must be heard.
In Joshua He is the man with a drawn sword, the Lord of Hosts.
In Judges He is faithful and just, and gives complete deliverance.
In Ruth He is the kinsmen redeemer.
In 1st Samuel He is the anointed King.